I began the blog in this space last week with the disclaimer that I wasn’t sure the story was true. I check sources carefully and if there is any doubt I either admit my hesitancy, or I omit the story. So here is my entre to last week’s blog:
I don’t know if this story is true. I’ve never started a piece like this before. I’ve written in this space every Monday evening for more than six years and I’ve never started even once with this beginning. I almost always know more about the story than I know about this one. But I think it’s true and it’s big enough I know you’ll be blessed.
However, no sooner had the blog hit the streets last week than I got a note from a dear friend – our family physician – saying he had found the original. So the story is true. Here are a couple of specifics: It happened in Louisville (I had just said it was from Kentucky). The trash company is Hometown Hauling, and the trashman is Jake Bland rather than Gus. Other than that I got it right. So now maybe the story is even more persuasive than before.
One Thursday morning Molly didn’t put her trash out at the curb. She was an older lady and it had happened before so Gus, her trashman, wasn’t terribly concerned. But when the cans were not there the next week, he was worried. Gus got the name from his dispatcher and called up the customer. “Ma’am,” he asked, “I see you haven’t put your trash cans out for a while. Are you ok?” “I’m doin’ all right,” she replied. “The lady who comes in to help me was afraid of the virus…” “So?” asked Gus. “So she stopped coming. I don’t have any trash these days because I’ve run out of food.”
“Well, ma’am, that’s not ok. Tomorrow is my day off; when I finish my run today I’ll stop by.” When Gus arrived he asked her to make up a grocery list. “Ma’am, this list is too short,” he told her. Reluctantly she added some more items. Suspecting he didn’t have the whole story he asked if he could look in her fridge. It was stark naked empty.
Next morning Gus showed up with a dozen bags filled to the top with every kind of grocery she could need. Molly was speechless. Gus said, “Ma’am, you maybe didn’t think you had family living nearby. Well, you do now. Till your lady can come back and help, my wife and I will see that you have everything you need.”
I love this story. A trash collector sensed that here was a lady with a need and church broke out. Here is a guardian angel, cleverly disguised as a garbage man, doing kingdom business. I don’t know that his prayer that morning was, “And Lord, help me find someone today who needs something more than having their trash hauled away.” But it wouldn’t surprise me. God’s people are like that.